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South Africa at end November and beginning of December

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  • WaynedP

    Further to Garden Route information, for anyone with Marriott Bonvoy status, Protea Hotels (a fairly widespread, mid-brand offering in South Africa) is running an offer of 20% base rate discount for stays of three nights or longer. This includes the Protea Marriott hotels in both George and Knysna, which I haven’t personally stayed at, but which seem to get decent reviews and can be had for £75 – £100 pn for two incl breakfast on this deal if you look at the “Deals and Packages” tab when viewing rates with three nights or more duration during September 2022.
    May extend beyond that, not sure as haven’t personally checked, but I was advised of it as part of a “Heritage Day” special for September.
    See protea.marriott.com for other protea hotels and offers in South Africa.

    jek

    @WaynedP thanks for the great advice! We will do the trip from PLZ to CPT as you suggested. The prices for flights and car don’t look to bad.

    Do you have any advice on the domestic airlines and car agencies? For example, sixt/firstcarrental seems to be terrible…

    WaynedP

    @jek You’re very welcome, I’m sure you’ll have a great time.

    I tend to steer clear of the cheaper, budget car hire companies because I don’t trust them not to indulge in sharp practice or offer very poor customer service if something should go wrong. So I can only comment on Avis which I stick to and have done for years, see my 14 August post within this thread. Obviously I’m happy with them and feel that they’ve always looked after me, else I wouldn’t be a loyal, returning customer.

    As for airlines, I flew Mango in Feb 2020 and apart from a one hour delay which resulted in me mussing my return VS flight from JNB to LHR, Mango got me safely back to JNB later that day and I caught the next night flight back to LHR 24 hours later than planned. I would fly Mango again, no problem, but I think they’re all pretty much of a muchness.

    I think that knock on delays to flights scheduled later in the day aren’t that uncommon so try to get an earlier flight in preference to later especially if you’ve got an onward connection.

    yorkieflyer

    Woodford I’ve always found reliable in Capetown

    yorkieflyer

    Airlink are the most reliable while Flysafair are the best lo co

    VinZ

    Going to CT myself around NYE.

    I’m struggling to find a decent hotel over there for 31/12-2/1 but the rest I booked fairly easily.

    I’m going to Stellenbosch for a wine tasting and a superb dinner at Delaire Graff estate; doing a one day safari at Kuganha tented camp (I did two days last time and it was definitely more than plenty), then down to Hermanus as I want to go on a whale watching boat trip and then back to CT for the last day.

    I’m planing to add an e-sim to my phone with Airalo. Super cheap and it works. I tried in Marrakech and I’m going to use it again.

    Any tips on what to do on YE in CT greatly appreciated. We’re not into clubbing so maybe a nice dinner and something to do while we wait for the midnight?

    Any hidden gem hotels you would recommend? Possibly around the V&A waterfront as that’s where the fireworks will be.

    Thank you!

    Thegasman

    Back in 2014 we had a lovely dinner at Savoy Cabbage (sadly now closed). Think we sat down to eat at about 8:30 then got an Uber to near the Radisson Blu & watched fireworks from there which was good vantage point & not too crowded. Our Uber driver waited for us then took us back to Camps Bay.

    Just checked & the fare was R135 with a 23:39 pickup & drop off at 00:54! Can’t remember exactly how much I tipped him but it was at least double the fare.

    VinZ

    Back in 2014 we had a lovely dinner at Savoy Cabbage (sadly now closed). Think we sat down to eat at about 8:30 then got an Uber to near the Radisson Blu & watched fireworks from there which was good vantage point & not too crowded. Our Uber driver waited for us then took us back to Camps Bay.

    Just checked & the fare was R135 with a 23:39 pickup & drop off at 00:54! Can’t remember exactly how much I tipped him but it was at least double the fare.

    That’s what I wanted to do. Maybe I’ll book a room at some hotel with a good viewpoint so I don’t have to go crazy about booking venues. Thank you!

    strickers

    We drove the garden route a few years ago and can highly recommend, spent several days doing CPT-PLZ with a one way car hire. We will be in CPT for 10 nights at the end of November, with a whale watching trip and a night at Aquila, managed to book La Colombo for my birthday which I hope is as good as last time. Nelsons Eye for a steak one night too.

    yorkshireRich

    We drove the garden route a few years ago and can highly recommend, spent several days doing CPT-PLZ with a one way car hire. We will be in CPT for 10 nights at the end of November, with a whale watching trip and a night at Aquila, managed to book La Colombo for my birthday which I hope is as good as last time. Nelsons Eye for a steak one night too.

    we will be there at the same time possibly. We look to arrive at port Elizabeth from Kruger national park on 20th November to hire a car. We will the be looking at accommodation in Cape Town for either 3 or 4 nights and depart on the 30th November. I notice accommodation isn’t exactly cheap.

    strickers

    We drove the garden route a few years ago and can highly recommend, spent several days doing CPT-PLZ with a one way car hire. We will be in CPT for 10 nights at the end of November, with a whale watching trip and a night at Aquila, managed to book La Colombo for my birthday which I hope is as good as last time. Nelsons Eye for a steak one night too.

    we will be there at the same time possibly. We look to arrive at port Elizabeth from Kruger national park on 20th November to hire a car. We will the be looking at accommodation in Cape Town for either 3 or 4 nights and depart on the 30th November. I notice accommodation isn’t exactly cheap.

    No it’s not, taken advantage of having enough Hilton points for the DoubleTree, not the best area but Uber is so cheap we will only use the hotel as a base.

    WaynedP

    If travelling to Kruger National Park (KNP) in the next few months at least, avoid the Numbi Gate and its R538 access routes north from White River (or south from Hazyview) as well as the R569 Numbi Gate Road itself.

    Long-standing unstable local conditions have deteriorated in the last two weeks to the point where calls to close the Numbi Gate completely are being seriously considered, and probably well advised unfortunately.

    Use Paul Kruger Gate (to the North) or Malelane or Crocodile Bridge Gates (to the South) instead.

    Research (or sign up and actively enquire) on latest road conditions to and from KNP on the SANParks Forum (https://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewforum.php?f=67)

    FCDO South Africa travel advice updated yesterday on the back of this tragic incident
    https://www.businessinsider.co.za/numbi-gate-kruger-national-park-closure-after-german-tourist-murder-2022-10

    It breaks my heart.

    AFKAE

    My son is in the Kruger at the moment, he hasn’t mentioned anything. He was on Whatsapp this morning so hopefully going strong still.

    The photo in the news article shows 35Km to Skukuza……he was definitely camping there!

    I’ll add some more info when he’s back, I’m picking him up from LHR on saturday morning.

    WaynedP

    The photo in the news article shows 35Km to Skukuza……he was definitely camping there!

    To be clear, the photo in the article is a stock photo of an arbitrarily selected cairn-like distance and direction marker, ubiquitous throughout the KNP.

    The incident itself took place two weeks ago outside of the KNP on one of the regional access roads leading to the Numbi Gate, and miles away from Skukuza. (The News24 video clip at the bottom of the page actually shows the location)

    Once inside the KNP boundary fences, conditions are actually super safe because there is very strict gun control throughout the Park itself. We’ve always had to declare our hand guns and have them (and all ammunition) temporarily locked up for the entire duration of our stay.

    Ironically, when something like this happens, the area is swamped with armed police and becomes an overnight “safe spot” for a time.

    Your son should be fine and enjoying himself immensely.

    AFKAE

    Your son should be fine and enjoying himself immensely.

    He’s a regular and has even worked there for a while. In fact if he could get a work permit he’d be there now.

    Just messaged that he’d seen the news and was leaving via Orpen gate anyway.

    yorkshireRich

    Hi all, want to say Thankyou to all the really useful comments and advice. I have also viewed other forums but having looked at all my plans I’ve realised I’ve took quite a lot of advice from here and applied it.
    Today is the day I fly and here is some of the things I have planned.

    Flying on the A380 tonight in the Ying and Yang seats. Decided on the flight from Johannesburg to Skukuza in the end. We land around 10:15am and the flight is 1pm. If the flight is anything like yesterday (and most other days) we should catch it. If it’s anything like Sundays flight where it was 2 hours late we may have problems but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.
    We are hiring a car at skukuza and driving to the rest camp for 2 days. We then have a lodge booked for 2 nights at the timbavati game reserve. I applied the code on here which was posted and also after the extremely useful article the other day, I’ve applied for the presidents club on Avis so let’s see what car I end up with.
    We fly to port Elizabeth where we then stay for one night as arrive in the evening, and then will collect the car the following day. After the helpful post regarding the protea hotel at kysna we have booked 2 nights there with an evening meal package. We are staying at swellendham for evening which looks very pretty. After the useful IHG article the other day, I am now diamond, however I’m unsure if this applies to a mr and mrs smith hotel.

    We are staying in franchoek also for 2 nights. Applied the 200 Amex travel credit (from the Amex platinum offer) then to that to take the cost down. Staying at Le quartier francias. We haven’t made any plans regarding the wineries around this area.

    We then have 4 nights in Cape Town. I’ll post abit more after if anyone is interested. Thanks again, and anymore tips to make what should be a great trip even better, it’s very much appreciated.

    JDB

    @yorkshireRich if you like hiking, Mont Rochelle just outside Franschhoek is great – quite tough, all steps for first part. The blob on Google maps isn’t quite right – it’s further up the hill than the hotel that it seems to take you to, but can’t really miss it. Re wineries, if you go to Stellenbosch try Haskell Vineyards – a bit out of the way, so not many people thus quite personalised and very beautiful setting. Restaurant is relatively casual but excellent food, not too expensive, nice terrace. Near Stellenbosch, again for hiking and also bike trails – Jonkershoek Nature Reserve. If you are visiting Paarl, Noop restaurant is the business.

    yorkieflyer

    http://www.franschhoekcycles.co.za/ are a great option either electric or mountain bikes to get around the vineyards and have a tipple or two tastings or of course their is the wine tram but please note it’s mainly bus

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